Monday, July 8, 1996

Movie Review: Independence Day

On Mon, 8 Jul 1996, a friend of mine wrote:

> [Re: Independence Day]

> Hmmm....well, I thought it was cute. Not worth the eight bucks > though...but not much is worth that these days. ;)

While I agree with the latter part of your statement ("not much is worth that these days"), you need to step off with the former part ("Not worth the eight bucks"). I haven't been so thoroughly entertained by a movie since Speed, 2 years ago. While it's no Citizen Kane, ID4 doesn't try to be. It succeeds in everything it tried to be: Spirited, big, loud, scary, and, most importantly, fun. This is the one movie this summer that can be forgiven for having little or no character depth or development. Sure, it had a little (namely the President, going from a 40% approval rating and an indecisive personality at the film's beginning, to a take-action, kick-ass leader; Jeff Goldblum's character also undergoes admittedly minimal development, but development nonetheless). But that's not important. The characters do advance the story: as a result of their actions, things happen, to which they, in turn, have to react to as well. It wasn't like what Chong said about Mission: Implausible: "this happens, then this happens, then this happens."

July 2 (the approach) was flawless. Talk about a tension-builder. It's not characters you start worrying about, but the entire world, yourself included.

July 3 (the attack) was near perfect. If not for the stripper's dog making it into the little maintenance closet in the tunnel just before the fireball, it would have been better. Plus, I hate that stupid little Nicky kid from The Fresh Prince of Bel Air. He bugs.

July 4 (the retaliation) was just plain fun. From the President's speech to the final air battle, I was on the edge of my seat. Plus, there were some great laughs, like when Will Smith and Jeff Goldblum's characters hide behind their chairs when the alien flight controller looked in the window, and then when they waved just before leaving.

Other Reasons This Movie Is Ultra-Cool:

  1. People Die -- Aside from the afore-mentioned dog, the filmmakers had the balls to kill millions of people. Though they didn't show much blood or gore, they were not ambiguous about it either. You knew those morons on top of the First Interstate building ate it. Plus all the people in the streets of New York City, including that annoying Harvey Feirstein. Plus, they had the balls to kill off the First Lady. Too many movies lately don't let any main or semi-main characters die. This one had the balls to do it.
  2. It was 2 and a half hours -- I wanted it to last longer. When they showed "July 3", I was sad because I wanted more "July 2". Likewise when they got to the 4th.
  3. It was fucking loud -- always a good quality in a film.
  4. Will Smith's sunglasses -- they were awesome.
  5. The Stripper was Pole-Dancing -- the most unnecessary scene in the film, but it was fun to watch.
  6. The Alien popping out of its bio-suit -- made my asshole pucker
  7. Harry Connick, Jr. was killed -- Heh, heh, heh.
  8. Great Audience -- I don't think it's possible to see this with a bad audience. I bet if everyone in the theater was over 80, they'd still be cheering by the movie's end.

Anyway, needless to say, I loved it. I'm gonna blow another eight bucks or two on it. This is the type of movie that nags me to buy a Home Theater System.

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